We’ve all seen it or heard it — the web page, the mailed postcard, the sales brochure, the exhibition display, or the email blast that looks clever but doesn’t actually ask the reader or the listener to do anything. Why bother? Of course you can make a great first impression online or offline with clever design and content that says “Notice Me!” But that could all be wasted if people don’t have any reason to respond. As our politicians are very fond of saying, we need to start a conversation. Your aim with every message you send, whether it’s before or after people buy, should be to inspire action. Succeed with this and people will effortlessly experience your business message and story, and be lining up for more. People love a sense of anticipation. Get inside the head of your customer and take them on a journey of discovery. Surprisingly, many businesses don’t apply this principle when they communicate. A well constructed sales journey will guide the people through a series of small steps which help them to learn more about you and your products. At the same time, knowing which content that they respond to (when they click through or call or email or visit) will help you tailor subsequent messages more effectively. To make this work, you need to be clear on the business outcome you want from each message. Exactly what are you trying to achieve? What action do you want? This applies to everything you do online, face to face, on the phone and in print. Start with small, easy, steps. Make responding a no brainer. It’s fascinating that many businesses are doing this online, but forget about it as soon as they communicate in the real world. Whether you’re sending an email (blast or personal message) posting on Facebook or LinkedIn, writing Adwords, creating a brochure or a marketing postcard, planning an exhibit at a trade show, making a presentation or a sales call, you need to tell the reader or listener what you want them to do. You need a call to action businessdictionary.com (rather quaintly) defines “call to action as words that urge the reader, listener or view of a sales promotion message to take immediate action, such as “write now”, “call now” or “click here”. A retail advertisement or commercial without a call to action is considered incomplete or ineffective. I think we could apply that idea to all messages, not just those which are specifically promotional. It’s the key to engagement that’s regular and meaningful. Here are a few ideas. Make your offer generous and desirable. Your call to action needs to be about something that matters to them, not you.
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What will the call to action be on the next message you send?